Got FISA Frustration? It's Time to Fight Back

With the Senate's failure to stand up for the rule of law today, the ball goes back to the House's court if the SSCI bill passes.

FDL and Glenn Greenwald ask you to help us push the House in the rule of law direction: please sign our petition asking House members to support the RESTORE Act, and not cave to pressure from the Senate on telecom immunity, on basket warrants and every other provision which requires careful debate on the long-term legal ramifications rather than a rubber stamp.

In a follow-up opinion (FISC Docket No.: MISC. 07-01), the FISA Court has again punted the issue of overreach by the Bush Administration on classification questions back to Congress. The ACLU's appeal of their December decision has resulted in the same answer: the Bush Administration's actions and classification justifications raise serious questions, but those must be answered by Congress. From the FISC opinion:


...The Court is aware of the ongoing congressional and public debate over extending or replacing the Protect America Act of 2007, and it acknowledges that release of the requested materials (at least in their unredacted form) could inform the public in that debate.
Nevertheless, the Court properly rejected the ACLU's request for release, and now denies the ACLU's motion for reconsideration. As noted above and in the Court's original opinion, even assuming that this Court has the discretion independently to declassify materials over the Executive's objections, the searching review requested by the ACLU of the Executive Branch's classification decisions -- over and above that conducted by a district court under FOIA -- poses unacceptable risks to the national security and to the proper functioning of the FISA process. As already explained, these risks include the heightened possibility of erroneous judicial release of properly classified materials; the forgoing of search or surveillance against legitimate targets; avoidance of the FISC in cases where the need for FISC approval is unclear; and impediments ot the free flow of information in cases that are submitted. These risks simply outweigh the potential benefits from discretionary release.
In other words, there is likely information that the public should know that exists in these classified materials, but the Congress, and not the courts, is the place in which these matters ought to be investigated. It's a strong hint from the FISA court, but they are not going to go beyond that because to do so, in their opinion, would be a violation of their role in this oversight tango. (And I have to wonder if the documents that the House is combing through

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.